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Inspirational: Near-death hot air balloon crash survivor tells her story for the first time

Inspirational: Near-death hot air balloon crash survivor tells her story for the first time

PHOTO CAPTION: Rebecca meets Magpas Dr Rupert Hurry for the first time since the balloon crash on 22nd May 2016

When 22 year old Rebecca Fry (who was living in Norwich at the time) took off in a hot air balloon on a beautiful summers morning in May last year, she felt exhilarated and ready to take in the stunning Northamptonshire scenery on high. The last thing Rebecca expected was the horrific, agonising and life-threatening incident that awaited her.

It was the first flight of the season on the Sunday 22nd May 2016, and Rebecca was floating over Earls Barton alongside eight other hot air balloons. It was around 7:30am, she was smiling and taking a selfie to capture the moment, when she noticed the balloon was getting dangerously close to some power lines. She just managed to get herself into the brace position against the back of the basket, as the balloon hit and pushed up against the power lines. Suddenly, there was a huge flash of light, sparks flew and she felt a shuddering electric shock (around 33,000 volts) pulsate through her body. “I felt as if my neck was going to snap and I remember screaming through clenched teeth,” Rebecca explains.

Within seconds, the basket was on fire; the intense heat of which caused the balloon to shoot up over 100 feet and carry on rising. Rebecca fell to the bottom of the basket. It was at this point her body became numb and she couldn’t feel her right arm and right leg at all. Having pulled herself up, a blistering wave of heat rippled through her, she looked down to see flames licking at her legs and she lost consciousness.

The balloon then burnt away, leaving the basket to freefall, plummeting to the ground. Whilst she was still on fire, a traumatised Rebecca crawled out of the basket and tried to run. She reached for her face and head and started to absorb the full horror of the situation, as her entire fringe came off in her badly burnt hands. “It felt like my legs were sizzling and cooking and I could feel my leggings melting into my legs” she explains.

When the EMAS Ambulance service arrived, Rebecca was losing huge amounts of fluid as her body started to shut down. “The paramedics put a gel pad on my face to protect my facial burns which quite possibly stopped my face from becoming permanently damaged” she relays. The ambulance crew did what they could but realised the severity of Rebecca’s injuries meant she needed specialist knowledge - and fast. When the Magpas Air Ambulance enhanced doctor and paramedic team arrived, Rebecca was in an enormous amount of pain and desperately needed more fluid. Magpas Dr Rupert Hurry and Paramedic Alex Pearce fought hard to get an IV line into her arm (as her body continued to shut down).

The Magpas highly trained medics rolled Rebecca onto a stretcher, soothing her with their reassuring words. She says, “I suddenly felt safe in their hands…I was terrified I was going to die. But I knew I had the best chance of survival thanks to the Magpas Air Ambulance medical team.”

Rebecca was then flown to Birmingham Hospital (the specialist burns unit), where she spent four weeks in the burns centre critical care unit. It’s been a long and gruelling recovery process for her, which is still ongoing, but Rebecca is now ready to tell her story. “I want to thank Magpas Air Ambulance for everything they did for me. Without Magpas, I might have died. I owe my life to them.”

Rebecca’s close family and her boyfriend, Brett, were at Rebecca’s bedside every day to comfort her. After promising to put a ring on her finger as soon as her left hand healed, Brett proposed to Rebecca on New Year’s Eve last year. “I’m so lucky to have family and friends around me who truly care. People say you’ve been so brave, but I just had to keep going, I didn’t have a choice.”

Rebecca points out, “I understand what it’s like to be terrified and be in hideous pain. It can a horribly lonely time. After what I’ve been through, and am still going through, I want to reach out to other people who are experiencing terrible, traumatic times. I want to give them hope and tell them that they will get through it, to hang on in there and believe that life will get better - just as it has done for me.”

To mark almost one year since the crash, Rebecca met and thanked Magpas Doctor Rupert Hurry who flew to her aid. The brave young woman also shared her story with the media, to help raise awareness about the crucial lifesaving care Magpas Air Ambulance delivers, by land and air, in the East of England and beyond.

We would like to thank Rebecca for her courage and dedication to the cause.

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Surviving sister's brave lifesaving legacy

Surviving sister's brave lifesaving legacy

PHOTO CAPTION: Louise Cade and Magpas Air Ambulance Dr Andy Lindsay talk about road safety at The Duke of Bedford School assembly

It was around 3:30pm on 21st January 1994; Louise Cade and her sister Sally Cade and were coming home on the School bus, on what felt like just another normal school day. At the time, the family were living just outside Thorney near Peterborough. Six year old Sally and eight year old Louise got off the bus and waited for it to pull away. They held hands, looked both ways and were crossing the road when a car - seemingly out of nowhere - collided with them at high speed. Louise’s family will never forget the sound of the loud bang the car made on impact.

Louise explains, “My mum got to us as soon as she could. My sister Sally and I were lying in the road. My mother says Sally was smiling at her, whilst I was unconscious. She remembers noticing Sally had fluid coming out of her ear and she knew then it wasn’t a good sign.”

Back in the 1990’s, doctors from around the Eastern Region volunteered their own time with Magpas Air Ambulance and as result; Dr Richards, Dr Knights and Dr Jackson (who all worked at Thorney Surgery) were called out to Sally and Louise. They did everything they could to save the sisters’ lives - in what had become truly devastating circumstances. Sally was first to be taken to hospital in an ambulance (with a police escort), shortly followed by Louise, with the Magpas Doctors on board. Sally died several times en route, as did Louise, but the Magpas doctors repeatedly brought them back to life.

Once at the hospital, Sally and Louise were next to each other in the ICU being treated. Louise explains, “Sally was on a ventilator but sadly died from head trauma and organ failure on the 23rd January.”

Louise had to have gravel sucked out of her lungs (one of which collapsed), she suffered a serious head injury and multiple broken bones, as well as a stroke. She says, “My family tells me I died several times and was not expected to survive. The last time I died, everyone thought I had gone when suddenly I came back - gasping for air, trying to rip the ventilator tubes out of me.”

Her parents were told she would probably not walk and talk again, but Louise was determined to get back to normal. At Sally’s funeral, the family asked only for donations to be made to Magpas Air Ambulance and fundraised for a defibrillator for the charity to use. Not long after, the same Magpas Doctors were called out to another little girl called Rebekah; the defibrillator bought by Louise’s family, was used by Magpas to save her life that day.

Louise has since lost most of her memory of what life was like before the accident. She explains, “It’s really upsetting I can’t remember much about my best friend who I miss dearly - but the motivation, determination and strength to live on has made me the person I am today.” Louise, who is 31, now feels ready to tell her story for the first time. She wants the memory of her sister Sally to live on, by raising awareness for Magpas Air Ambulance who came to her rescue all those years ago. As a result, Louise is teaming up with Magpas former patient Rebekah’s mum - to take part in the Magpas annual skydive this July.

Louise sums up why she’s embarking on such a courageous fundraising venture after everything she’s been through, “My sister means a great deal to me and, like Rebekah and her mum, I want to thank the charity that did so much for me on that terrible afternoon.” Louise continues, “Magpas Air Ambulance trains senior doctors and paramedics, from all around the UK, to bring the hospital to patients in life-threatening situations. I want to gather as many sponsors as I can and help Magpas Air Ambulance give more lifesaving care to others in their time of need.” The link to Louise’s fundraising page is: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JumpingwithSally

Recently, Louise went back to The Duke of Bedford School to talk at the school assembly. Louise told her story, raising awareness about road safety and about the crucial lifesaving care Magpas Air Ambulance delivers, by land and air, in the East of England and beyond. She summed up why this moment was so important to her, “I just want the children to take on the message of road safety and stay safe. I hope the children will take this on board and tell their parents - so that they can be more aware of children on the road. I want to inspire other people with my story.”

Louise was also joined by Magpas Dr Andy Lindsay. He explained how Magpas Air Ambulance offers pioneering training to doctors and paramedics wishing to specialise in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM), for which the charity is renowned in the medical world. He also summarised how he felt about being part of the gathering, “It’s wonderful to see Louise looking so well. Spreading the word about road safety to young children is an incredible investment of our time. It’s great to capture their attention and a real privilege to talk to them”.

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Miracle baby - thanks to advanced skills & knowledge from Magpas Air Ambulance

Miracle baby - thanks to advanced skills & knowledge from Magpas Air Ambulance

In the early hours of Sunday 29th January, expectant mum Shona Fordham from Friday Bridge, went into labour and suffered serious complications. Shona says, “At first everything seemed fine, my waters broke and I started having contractions - then suddenly I just knew something was very wrong. I called out to my partner Jamie to dial 999 as soon as he could. I was hysterical, it was a total nightmare.”

Shona had suffered an umbilical prolapse; in other words the baby's oxygen supply was in severe danger of being cut off.

Within minutes, two first responders arrived at the family home, followed by an EEAST Ambulance Service paramedic crew and then an Magpas Air Ambulance enhanced medical team. Magpas Dr Anne Booth and Magpas Paramedic Alex Pearce had the expert skills and knowledge to help Shona and keep her baby alive. Shona sums up the severity of the situation by saying, “They had just 9 minutes to ensure my daughter survived". Dr Anne and Paramedic Alex then continued to treat Shona en route to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, where she gave birth to a very healthy Daphne-Louise.

Shona explains, “The hospital are calling Daphne a miracle baby and that’s thanks to the advanced care she was given by Magpas Air Ambulance (alongside the emergency services) at our house.”

After Shona got in touch with the charity over the weekend to say a big, heartfelt thank you, Magpas Air Ambulance Dr Anne Booth visited the family home and was given a very warm welcome. Dr Booth says, “It’s absolutely lovely to see the adorable Baby Daphne-Louise and Shona looking so well. They are perfect examples of the critical difference Magpas Air Ambulance can make for people in life-threatening emergencies, in the East of England and beyond.” Anne then added, “We are only able to provide our vital service thanks to generous donations from the public.”

Proud mum Shona finished by saying, “It’s so exciting to meet Anne and to introduce her properly to Daphne-Louise. I can’t believe Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity - as soon as Anne and Alex arrived, they just knew what to do. They literally brought the hospital into our house! If it wasn’t for Magpas Air Ambulance, it would have been a very different story for my daughter and even for me. Jamie and I can’t thank them enough.”

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We gave Matt a second chance at living and he’s grabbed it with both hands!

We gave Matt a second chance at living and he’s grabbed it with both hands!

We always say Magpas Air Ambulance is about the people! Yes, we’re extremely proud of our leading trauma care heritage and training of over 45 years, but it’s the patients that matter the most.

34 year old Matt Stephenson is a perfect example of the critical difference we can make. Matt, whose family have been based in Comberton for many years, got in touch with us recently to share his news:

When he was 20 years old, Matt’s world changed in ways he could never have previously imagined. He explains, “I kissed my girlfriend goodbye, got on my motorbike and said I’d be back in 10 minutes. Less than a mile down the road, a car pulled out and didn’t see me. My bike smashed into the car and I flew 120 feet over the top of my bike and landed in the middle of the road. I was literally injured from the very top of my head to the very tip of my toes and was fighting for survival. I don’t remember the Magpas enhanced medical team arriving, but I know I wouldn’t be alive today without their incredible lifesaving care.”

So how’s Matt doing now? Here’s what he had to say, “Since graduating from my masters I’ve set up a company, bought a flat in London and met a lovely woman who is now, I am happy to say, my wife! As the now Mrs Suzanne Stephenson is Australian, I have made the decision to leave The Old Smoke and start a new life Down Under. Obviously, none of this would be possible without the incredible Magpas Air Ambulance. Thank you to your doctor and paramedic team for giving me my life back and for saving countless other lives too. A huge thank you from us both, take care and keep up the vital work that you do!”

We are proud of our record in saving lives, like Matt’s, across the East of England and beyond. Magpas Air Ambulance needs to raise around £4.8m to keep our service running 24/7, as ever that funding comes in the form of public donations and subscriptions to our Lottery.

If you would like to make a donation, please click here http://www.magpas.org.uk/worldpay

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Bedfordshire boy reunited with ‘amazing’ lifesavers after serious road traffic incident

Josh with the ambulance service copy

A boy who was seriously injured after being crushed between two cars has had the chance to meet some of his life-savers.

Josh Bright (11), suffered multiple broken bones, and has had to undergo a number of operations to straighten the growth of his legs.

The incident, which happened last year in Tavistock Street, Bedford, was a dark day for him and his family.

But after a long journey to recovery, Josh has since been reunited with the ambulance staff at Kempston ambulance station, and also with the Magpas Air Ambulance Paramedic, who treated him.

Speaking of the incident, dad Nick said: “We decided to treat Josh to an Indian meal that night; we had finished and were waiting to cross the road to our car when a car hit Josh. It all happened so fast it was hard to process what had happened at the time. Luckily people in the restaurant called 999 immediately.”

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) received a call at 9.46pm and sent multiple resources including the Emergency Care Practitioner Lyn Munden, and Senior Paramedic Russell Dilley who arrived on scene in five and a half minutes, shortly followed by the Magpas specialist medical team.

Josh was treated at the scene by the ambulance service, before Magpas Doctor Nick Scott and Paramedic Keir Rutherford arrived and sedated Josh, providing him with specialist A&E care there and then. Josh was then taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and he has since gone on to live like a normal boy, according to dad Nick. He said: “I’m so happy he is able to run around like kids his age should. That wouldn’t be the case if it wasn’t for the speed and care Josh received from EEAST and Magpas. It was so reassuring to have the highly trained Magpas team there; I’d hate to think what would have happened to Josh without the advanced treatment Magpas provided him with at the scene. All the emergency services were amazing and we are all very grateful for that.”

Lyn said it was much nicer to meet Josh again under different circumstances. She added: “He probably doesn’t remember me from that day but it’s nice to know that he has made such a strong recovery, he is a lovely boy.”

Magpas Paramedic Keir Rutherford said, “It was a pleasure to see Josh and his family again. I'm glad to see that he is recovering well from the serious injuries he sustained. Josh is a great example of how a regional trauma network, from timely pre hospital critical care through to ongoing rehabilitation, can make a massive difference to patients suffering major trauma in the East of England.”

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Peter is from Wisbech, this is his story

Peter is from Wisbech, this is his story

One morning, my wife Ruth and I went into town to do some shopping and came back home. I was watching TV when suddenly I went into cardiac arrest.

Thankfully, Ruth acted really quickly and dialled 999. She gave me CPR until the Emergency Services arrived. Magpas Air Ambulance were also called out to me. They provided me with advanced life support and enhanced, hospital level care. They put me in a medically induced coma to stabilise my condition, before taking me to hospital.

I can't remember much about that day, but Ruth says she'll never forget it! She says, "With the Magpas team there, I felt totally reassured that Peter would be ok. It could be a life or death situation without Magpas, they do one hell of a job!".

Since 1st October 2015, Magpas now provides its lifesaving service 24/7. We are the first service of its kind to be doing this in the Eastern Region. Please support us here, your donations save lives: http://www.magpas.org.uk/worldpay

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Winston is from Peterborough, this is his story

Winston is from Peterborough, this is his story

I almost died, after a car collided with my motorbike in Peterborough, through no fault of my own.

Magpas were called out to me, because my injuries were life threatening and I needed specialist A&E care as soon as possible. The Magpas team anaesthetised me and put me in a medically induced coma to reduce the impact of my injuries.

My son Darnell was there when the incident happened. He says, "It was truly amazing to watch Magpas saving my Dad's life". My wife Eleanor points out, "If it wasn't for Magpas, Winston wouldn't be here today and that's a fact. Until something happens to you, you don't realise how important it is to support the crucial, charity funded service Magpas provides by helicopter and by BMW".

Since 1st October 2015, Magpas now provides its lifesaving service 24/7. We are the first service of its kind to be doing this in the Eastern Region. Please support us here, your donations save lives: http://www.magpas.org.uk/worldpay

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John is from Essex, this is his story

John is from Essex, this is his story
My wife Catherine and I had gone to babysit for our grandson. It had been just a normal day, we’d gone to feed the ducks with him and had got back to the house.
 
I was sat down when Catherine brought me a coffee and suddenly, out of the blue, I went into cardiac arrest. A friend gave me CPR and then Magpas arrived. They gave me advanced life support and anaesthetised me. In other words, they brought specialist care to me to help save my life.
 
We were really shocked to find out that Magpas is a charity. We’d urge people to support Magpas Air Ambulance because like us, you never know what’s round the corner. We are so, so thankful - I can’t begin to explain!
 
Since 1st October 2015, Magpas now provides its lifesaving service 24/7. We are the first service of its kind to be doing this in the Eastern Region. Please support us here, your donations save lives: http://www.magpas.org.uk/worldpay
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Adam & co cycle Holbeach to Huntingdon!

The cyclists outside office
On Saturday 26th September, former Magpas patient Adam Brooker and twelve of his friends and family cycled from Adam’s home in Holbeach, all the way to the Magpas Fundraising HQ in Huntingdon, pedalling 50 miles in total!

 Adam, 23, was involved in a serious road traffic incident near Peterborough last year, when his car collided with a lorry, leaving him trapped inside the vehicle and suffering from serious life-threatening injuries. Magpas Doctor Sarah Hazleman and Paramedic Steve Chambers flew to Adam in the Magpas Air Ambulance to help safely get him out of his car. The Magpas team then anaesthetised Adam, putting him into a medically induced coma there and then, before flying him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Adam organised the cycle to raise money for Magpas and help the charity continue to provide lifesaving care by land and air. Each mission in the Magpas Air Ambulance costs roughly £600, so Adam set his fundraising target as £1200, as a way of paying the charity back for flying out to the scene of his accident, and then flying him on to hospital. 

Adam and the group have since managed to beat their fundraising target by raising a phenomenal £5,250.57 for Magpas Air Ambulance! The cycle team came up in mass to visit the operations base and hand over the cheque.

Adam explained, “Today, 9 months after the accident, I am well on my way to making a full recovery. I honestly believe that without the immediate critical care I was given by the Magpas team, I would not be as well as I am today. I was amazed to learn that Magpas is a charity that receives no government funding. Everyone should support Magpas, you never know when you might need them. I am so grateful they were there for me that day.”

Debbie Florence, Head of Fundraising at Magpas, said, “It was a very proud moment on Saturday to see Adam and the group pulling into the Fundraising HQ on their bikes. It was wonderful to meet Adam’s friends and family who have been so supportive of him since his accident. We are really grateful to Adam for raising this money for us, donations like his means we can continue to provide our crucial service, and save more lives like Adam’s.”

If you’d like to organise a fundraising challenge for Magpas then please call our Fundraising Team on 01480 371060 (Option 2), or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you.

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Former patient David meets the Magpas Paramedic who helped to save his life

Former patient David meets the Magpas Paramedic who helped to save his life

The morning of August 9th in 2012 started off like any other day for David Johnson. He was in the car on his way to work, when he was suddenly involved in a road incident. His car left the road and collided with a tree, leaving him with life-threatening injuries.

The Magpas team on shift that day, Paramedic Dan Read and Doctor Darren Reid, were called to the scene of David’s accident, arriving in the Magpas Rapid Response BMW shortly after the collision. David had suffered a serious head injury. The Helimedix anaesthetised David, providing him with specialist trauma care, putting him into a medically induced coma to help protect his brain. They then took him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital by land ambulance (monitoring his condition all the way), where he spent the next 3 months recovering.

Earlier this month, Cambridgeshire resident David, along with his wife Leisa and son Lucas, finally got to meet Dan, the Magpas Paramedic who helped to save his life that day.

“It was wonderful to visit Dan with my family and say thank you. Because of the immediate response from the excellent Magpas team, and the specialist care provided by Dan and Darren that day, I managed to make a full recovery. I hate to think what would have happened to me, and my family, without that care. My son was so happy to meet the team that saved his Daddy’s life.” David said.

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Belated birthday gift for heart & seizure boy

Belated birthday gift for heart & seizure boy

Belated birthday gift for heart & seizure boy

When young Bradley Spanton from Sawtry suffered a life threatening seizure in the spring of this year, it was a horrific shock for him and his family. As if that wasn't enough to contend with, the seizure struck Bradley on 22nd April which was his eighth birthday. His family had planned a special birthday surprise for him, which ended up being a write-off with an emergency medical trip to Peterborough City Hospital instead.

Bradley, who has also been living with an artificial heart valve and a pace maker since he was a baby, is well aware of the limitations of having a heart condition and has learned to live as normal a life as possible. Unfortunately though, the seizure back in April didn't turn out to be a one off episode and Bradley has since been diagnosed with epilepsy. This recent news has really affected his confidence levels, with him being afraid to go outside at school playtime and he's started to question everything he does. However, his family and school have worked with Magpas to come up with a cunning plan so he could finally celebrate his birthday in style.

Back in April when young Bradley experienced his first epileptic episode in Sawtry, he needed specialist help there and then and so a Magpas Helimedix team was called out to him. The Doctor and Paramedic went on to provide Bradley with expert care before taking him to hospital by road (monitoring his condition all the way). When Bradley woke up in hospital later that day, he knew there was a big surprise lined up for his birthday (which was actually a pet rabbit). When Bradley came round to full consciousness, the first words he uttered were, "Was the helicopter my birthday surprise?". He was extremely disappointed he didn't get the chance to see inside the helicopter and kept mentioning this to his Dad Charlie and partner Zoe.

On the morning of Wednesday 10th June, Bradley was in the school classroom with his fellow 29 school mates (in the Picasso Class), when at 11am there was a surprise knock at the door courtesy of Magpas Dr Tom Odbert (who flew to Bradley in April). Tom introduced himself and invited Bradley for a VIP guided tour of the Magpas helicopter (along with a birthday cake, balloons, streamers and all the celebratory trimmings). Dad Charlie says, "we were so excited for Bradley, he had absolutely no idea this was going to happen. When Magpas Dr Tom appeared at the classroom door, Bradley's eyes lit up! The last few months have really knocked him for six, so today has really given him a brilliant boost of confidence".

Charlie went on to say, "As soon as Bradley saw the helicopter, he jumped in and loved every second of his belated birthday present. Meeting the Magpas specialist medics today and seeing how everything operates really brings home how they bring the trauma centre to a patient who's really sick. I'll never forget that day, when they just flew to Bradley and saved the situation - we're so, so grateful".

Joining the Magpas lottery is a simple way of helping us continue to save lives. Find out more here: http://www.magpas.org.uk/lottery/welcome-to-our-lottery

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Run with Rebekah - if she can, so can you!

run-with-rebekah

Run with Rebekah - if she can, so can you! Please help this extraordinary woman, who is determined to save more lives after battling to survive her own.

The idea is to help raise funds to buy more lifesaving specialist equipment for Magpas Helimedix, much like the kit that was used to help save Rebekah's life. For Rebekah's story; please see as below, or watch the feature filmed by ITV Anglia just by clicking on this link: 

http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2015-05-20/charity-run-for-medical-charity-who-saved-womans-life/

To join the Run with Rebekah campaign:

Simply donate funds directly to Rebecca's Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Rebekah-Cheshire/ 

OR why not sign up to a running event near to where you live and either donate the money raised directly to Rebekah's Just Giving page (as above), OR you can create your own page (making it clear that you are supporting the Run with Rebekah campaign).

On the morning of 20th December in 1994, Louise Donaldson from near Peterborough, was driving her little daughter Rebekah to nursery in Wisbech on her way to work. Suddenly, the car span out of control, left the road and careered head on into a 10-foot ditch. Louise suffered a broken collar bone and Rebekah (who was almost 3 years old at the time), was left with head and body injuries so severe, her mum was convinced her baby was dead. "I remember being in the back of the ambulance" Louise says. "My neck was in a brace, I couldn't move and I was in a total panic; whilst two doctors treated Rebekah and comforted me that they were doing the best they could for her". It turns out that Rebekah died twice on the way to Peterborough District Hospital (as it was then), only to be revived twice thanks to two Magpas volunteer doctors and the vital equipment they were using.

Rebekah had sustained critical brain damage and was predicted to live in a vegetative state for the rest of her life, if she survived at all. However, this incredible young woman has since defied all expectations; she is now 23 years old and she has learnt to walk, talk, hear, eat, sit and see again! Despite dealing with some physical, learning and emotional challenges, Rebekah Cheshire (as she is now known) is determined to train to run long distances (which doesn't come easily for her). Her mission? To fundraise and buy crucial lifesaving equipment, much like the kit that was used to help save her life 20 years ago. Now Rebekah is inviting you run with her - wherever you are!

Before the horrific accident in 1994, mum Louise describes her daughter as being incredibly bright and ahead of her years, "She absolutely loved books and jigsaw puzzles and didn't give up until all the pieces were in the right place". These days Rebekah is just as strong minded and won't ever say the word, "can't". On 14th June, after months of hard training, she ran her first event; the Stanwick Lakes 5km run. Rebekah crossed the finishing line in under an hour, with her entire family cheering her on!

Rebekah is hoping to be involved with yet more runs and she is asking people to sign up to sporting events wherever they are and raise funds for the charity that helped to save her life. Mum and daughter Cheshire appreciate more than most the importance of having access to lifesaving equipment when it's urgently needed. They have since found out the portable defibrillator, used by the Magpas Doctors in the ambulance in 1994, was only made available thanks to the fantastic fundraising efforts of another local family (who Magpas were called out a few months before).

Twenty years on and the care Magpas Helimedix provides continues to evolve and so does the equipment we use; bringing A&E care by land and by air to patients in life threatening situations in the East of England. Recently, inspirational Rebekah Cheshire (dressed in her running kit) was joined by her mother Louise and former Magpas Doctor Nick Jackson who helped this mother and daughter all those years ago. This was Rebekah's first visit to the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base, as we get ready to support her campaign. Magpas Medical Director Dr Simon Lewis also thanked Rebekah and her family for all their efforts, as we encourage more people to Run with Rebekah - and help raise funds for much needed kit and specialist treatment to help save more Rebekahs!

To sponsor Rebekah's run, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/Rebekah-Cheshire/

 

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Reunited - survivor thanks off duty Magpas Paramedic following cardiac arrest at airport

patient-story

When Alec Molton set off from his Suffolk home for Stansted airport on 3rd June last year, the only thing on his mind was the family holiday to Spain he was about to embark on. Once at the airport and shortly after checking in, Alec turned round to his loved ones and said, "Sorry son, I've had it", whilst suddenly feeling horribly unwell. Alec collapsed and went into a near-death cardiac arrest. The Worlington father of two needed crucial help and fast, or he would not survive. No one could have predicted that at that very moment an off duty, specialist lifesaving paramedic (from Ely) would also be nearby with his wife and child, ready to go on their family break abroad.

On this fateful afternoon, Magpas Helimedix Paramedic Dan Read had also just arrived at Stansted Departure Terminal with his wife and their young daughter. They were getting ready to check their bags in and were just organising their passports and tickets. Whilst Dad Dan was looking after his little girl, his wife saw a man had fallen to the floor and airport police were trying to help - something was seriously wrong. She immediately told Dan who instinctively clicked into 'work mode', he joined the throng of people who were gathering around the man and offered his assistance. Dan then took charge, stopping any confusion from setting in and helped to provide enhanced life support for his fellow traveller. The man in question was of course 70 year old Alec Molton.

Dressed in shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt, Dan provided structural organisational skills whilst working alongside the Airport Police, to help save Alec's life. They were soon joined by the Airport Fire service who brought some extra medical kit with them and two nurses stepped in to assist. An EEAST Ambulance Service Paramedic Crew then arrived to help. Whilst this was all going on, as with his day to day professional role, Dan directed everyone as to what needed to be done to keep Alec alive.

Shortly afterwards, the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Air Crew flew in to Stansted Airport. Pre-Hospital care Dr Ash Vasireddy and Critical Care Paramedic Jo Lambert arrived at the scene and saw Dan, their fellow off duty Magpas Helimedix Air Ambulance Paramedic (and colleague) performing crucial CPR for their patient. All three specialist medics then worked together to provide enhanced pre-hospital care for the Alec, before the air ambulance crew accompanied him to Basildon Hospital. Whilst all this was going on, Dan didn't once consider whether he was going to miss his flight. Looking back to that day, when asked if he feels heroic, he replies, "Absolutely not! I've got the specialist skills to use and I wouldn't think twice - in or out of work". Dan and his family did eventually manage to catch their flight after Stansted fast tracked them through.

Eleven months on and it's been a long recovery process, but Alec Molton is doing really well. So well in fact that Alec wanted to say thank you to everyone involved that day, but he especially wanted to thank Dan. Alec and his family have been trying to get in touch with Dan over the past few months. Recently, Alec and his wife finally met Dan to thank him personally for everything he did on the afternoon of 3rd June 2015. They were also joined by the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Air Crew, as we highlighted the sheer passion of all our Air Ambulance Charity Paramedics and Doctors across the Eastern region - for the frontline care they bring to patients suffering life-threatening illnesses or injuries...whether the medics are at work or not, as the case may be!

Why not get involved in a fundraising challenge and help raise vital funds for Magpas. Find out more here: http://www.magpas.org.uk/support-us/how-to-fundraise

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Heartfelt thanks from Magpas former patient

Heartfelt thanks from Magpas former patient

Former patient David Nicholas recently paid a visit to the Magpas Helimedix Base to say a special thank you to Magpas Paramedic Chris Hawkins, for helping to save his life.

In February last year, Wisbech resident David was being driven to the doctors by his wife Janet after he complained of feeling unwell. It was in the car on route to the doctors that David took a turn for the worse; he went into a cardiac arrest.

Paramedic Chris and Doctor David Driver were the Helimedix Team on shift that day, they flew to Wisbech in the Magpas Helimedix Air Ambulance to help David, who was at that point fighting for his life in his car.

When the helicopter landed, a member of public was there to meet the Helimedix Team and drive them down the road to where David was. Fortunately, an EEAST Ambulance Crew had already successfully revived David when the Magpas Team arrived.  The Helimedix were then able to provide enhanced A&E care for David, putting him into a medically induced coma to protect his brain and reduce the impact of the cardiac arrest.

The fantastic lifesaving news is that David has since made a full recovery. As soon as he was able, he made great efforts to get in contact with everybody who helped him that day, to thank them for their part in saving his life.

Whilst he was at the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base, David said, “I am over the moon to have met Chris and the Team, it’s been fantastic! The lifesaving work Magpas does is vital.”

He added, “I wear my Magpas badge every day since the Helimedix Team helped save me, to help spread the word about their amazing service.”

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How Helen's life was saved

How Helen's life was saved

One evening in May last year, wife and mum Helen was driving home from seeing friends when she was involved in a horrendous road incident. Helen was left trapped in her car and suffering from severe life-threatening injuries, when Magpas Helimedix Doctor Wayne Kark and Paramedic Ryan Warwick arrived at the scene by the Magpas Helimedix Air Ambulance. Helen has since made an incredible recovery.

This is her story:

Helen  John 1

Video courtesy of our videography sponsor Andy Wilkinson from Shooting Image Ltd.

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Heart attack in a plane at 1200ft, towing a glider!

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PHOTO CAPTIONS: 

Photo 1: Dave Gilham in the Aeroplane G-PSGC (Piper Pawnee) which he was flying at the time he suffered a heart attack in mid-air

Photo 2: Magpas former patient Dave Gilham with Magpas Helimedix Paramedic Simon Standen at the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base

With each day that passes since 13th December last year, Dave Gilham says he counts his lucky stars that he's still alive! On the afternoon of that fateful day Dave, who's a member of the Peterborough and Spalding Gliding Club, was going about one of his duties flying a single seat plane and towing a fellow glider pilot higher and higher into the skies. When he reached 1200 feet, experienced pilot Dave was feeling horribly unwell; he felt dizzy and lightheaded and then suddenly his arms and hands started to tingle. He realised something was seriously wrong, so made the decision to abandon the tow and land immediately. This was the best judgement call of his life, Dave was having a heart attack.

Dave descended his aircraft and - against all odds - made a good landing. He then managed to get out of the plane and within a short distance of being driven to hospital, things steadily grew worse. 999 was dialled and an Ambulance Crew arrived, shortly followed by specialist medical team Magpas Helimedix, who flew to a nearby field and provided Dave with enhanced A&E level care in the back of an ambulance. Having stabilised Dave's condition, the Helimedix then flew Dave to Papworth Hospital for further treatment.

Dave is 61 years old, he has been flying since 1980 and is a keen helicopter, fixed wing and glider pilot. He's a non-smoker, a healthy eater and a regular exerciser; so it's understandable for him to question as to why this was happening to him!

Three months on and Dave has made a remarkable recovery, he's so well in fact, he's on the way to getting back to flying once again! Dave sums things up by saying, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Magpas team, what incredible skills and expertise we have in this area!". Recently, to celebrate Dave's narrow escape and the fantastic news that he is on the verge to taking to the skies once more, Dave met up with one of the specialist Magpas Helimedix team, Paramedic Simon Standen, who helped to save his life that day. The visit was a really heartwarming occasion and it was truly wonderful to see Dave looking so well.

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Metal plates & screws won’t stop Cat from running 26.2 miles!

Metal plates & screws won’t stop Cat from running 26.2 miles!

Photo caption (left to right):

Magpas Helimedix Chief Pilot Richard Eastwood, Cat Elliott, Magpas Crew Member Steve Hunwicks, Magpas Helimedix Paramedic Paul Sallis (who flew to the scene of Cat's accident) and Magpas Helimedix Dr Vijayasankar in front of the helicopter and rapid response BMW.

Despite having two metal plates and 11 screws literally holding her right ankle together, 40 year old Cat Elliott from Newmarket is determined to complete all 26.2 miles of the London Marathon this coming April, for Magpas Helimedix.

On 19th March 2014, Cat was out riding a racehorse when she suffered a severe fall leaving her with a shattered, fractured, acutely dislocated right ankle - and a foot that was so badly bent, it was cutting off her circulation. Not only was Cat in agony, but she also needed her foot to be manipulated back into her ankle, before going to hospital. Without the right expert advice and treatment, she was at high risk of not being able to walk unaided again!

Cat remembers, "I was shaking and I needed someone to make the right decision about what was best for my injuries. The Ambulance Service were there and doing a good job, when one of the paramedics said, "We need to get a whirly bird here right now". It was then that I realised I urgently needed advanced care, or I would suffer permeant damage to my leg".

Cat goes on to say, "When the Magpas Helimedix team flew to me, it was a great relief. They took control, dealt with my awful situation and made sure I arrived at Addenbrooke's Hospital in a comfortable condition".

As soon as she was able, Cat who works for a Newmarket horse trainer, set herself the challenge of running the London Marathon. She wants to raise the amount it would have cost to fly the Magpas Helimedix Doctor and Paramedic (with their specialist drugs and equipment) to her in March. In the early days, when she was learning to run again, she could feel the plates in her leg and it was really sore! The biggest difficulty for Cat has been her stronger left leg, which has been compensating for her more fragile right leg. As a result, she has had to have intensive physio, to release the deep muscle tension.

Recently Cat came up to the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base to meet Magpas Paramedic Paul Sallis, who helped to save her lower leg. She thanked him and said, "I remember the first time I saw Paul and his fellow Magpas Helimedix Doctor Nick arriving at the scene of my accident, I knew everything would be ok".

Cat went on to say, "Just visiting here and seeing what Magpas does, makes me all the more determined to keep on training for the London Marathon. My aim is to raise at least £2,500 - I can't back out this now! In fact, I think it's good for everyone for set themselves at least one challenge in their life".

Paramedic Paul explained how it felt to meet Cat again, "It's wonderful to see her doing so well. She's obviously really focused on her training and we all very much appreciate what she's doing for us. A lot of people would just concentrate on getting better, but Cat is clearly on a mission! We are hugely grateful to her. Magpas Helimedix can only carry on providing specialist care to seriously ill and injured people, in the East of England, in their moment of need - thanks to charitable donations".

If you would like to sponsor this extremely inspiring woman, here's the link to her fundraising page:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=CatherineElliott&faId=509034&isTeam=false

 

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Brandon Gravett's incredible story

Brandon Gravett's incredible story

Meet Magpas Helimedix former patient Brandon Gravett. 

Magpas Helimedix, Dr Simon Lews and Paramedic Dan Read, flew to Brandon when he was 11 years old. Brandon suffered life threatening injuries after his first day at school, when he was hit by a bus.

This video tells his story:

Brandon's film highlights the crucial, lifesaving difference Magpas Helimedix can make, as we bring A&E care by land and by air to patients suffering from acute illnesses or injuries, in the East of England and beyond.

The Helimedix can start treatment straight away, thus saving more lives and reducing the effect of head and other severe injuries. Serious incidents can happen anywhere; at the roadside, in town centres, at sporting events, in remote locations, at the water's edge, in the school playground or even in someone's home.

Supporting the Ambulance Service, our prime goal is not only to save lives, but for our patients to recover more quickly, spend less time in hospital and return to a decent quality of life with their loved ones.

We would like to thank our videography sponsor Andy Wilkinson, from Shooting Image Ltd., for giving many hours of his free time to make this powerful Magpas video (amongst others). For more information on what Andy does, please log onto: http://www.shootingimage.co.uk/

 

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Little Hertfordshire girl given chance to fight for life

abiagh-recovery

Imagine how you'd feel if you were at work, knowing your nine year old daughter was happily playing with friends after school, when the phone rings and you're told your child has been hit by a car and is dying at the roadside?

At 5pm on the evening of 12th September in 2013, Abaigh O'Gallagher was out playing football in a park in Hemel Hempstead, when the ball rolled out into the road. When Abaigh ran out to fetch the football, she was hit by a car and left with severe, life threatening head and body injuries. Her father, Patrick, says, "I remember rushing to the scene of Abaigh's incident. I kept telling myself she was going to be OK. When I got there the area was cordoned off, there were lots of emergency vehicles and loads of people surrounding the perimeter. I ran to where Abaigh was lying. She looked so poorly, I held her hand and reassured her that everything was going to be alright".

Patrick explains, "I can remember people saying it didn't look good and feeling scared to the core. The first I can recall about feeling better was when I was told specialist A&E care was on its way by helicopter. When the Magpas Helimedix team arrived, it was a great relief. Even though the ambulance service paramedics had done a really amazing job, Abaigh clearly had suffered serious, traumatic injuries and needed help".

"Abaigh was in a bad way, she looked physically very distressed". Patrick describes, "I remember her eyes rolling, but she showed real determination. She was fighting for her life. Magpas quickly and confidently gave Abaigh enhanced medical attention as well as taking control of the scene and I for one felt better for them being there. They clearly had a plan. They anaesthetised Abaigh and put her in a medically induced coma to reduce the impact of her injuries. They ultimately gave her treatment which I believe saved her life, before flying her to Addenbrooke's hospital".

After she was awakened from her coma, Abaigh had to learn how to walk, talk and function properly. Almost 15 months later to the day of the accident and incredibly 10 year old Abaigh has fully recovered! Patrick says, "We will always be grateful to Magpas, as I feel they saved my daughter's life. Had Magpas not been available at the time of Abaigh's accident, I dread to think of the outcome. The Magpas Helimedix literally brought a trauma centre to Abaigh and saved her life. I often think of Magpas when Abaigh rides her scooter or plays in the park as her recovery was only made possible by what they did that day. They gave her the foundation and the opportunity to fight and recover".

Just before Christmas little Abaigh O'Gallagher met the people who saved her life, as she got ready to celebrate her first proper Christmas with her family since the horrific accident in September 2013. Abaigh visited the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base in Huntingdon with her Dad Patrick - who is also in training for an extreme bike riding challenge to raise money for Magpas Helimedix (and the Sick Children Trust). Abaigh's mother Cassie, Abaigh's teenage sister Leanne was also joined by Patrick's training partner Alan (who will be taking part in the fundraising cycling mission with Patrick) and his family. Abaigh met the Magpas Helimedix Doctor Tom Odbert and enhanced Paramedic Sally Boor for the first time since the accident and thanked them; she can't remember anything about that day, so couldn't remember anything at all about them until the visit to the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base.

Abaigh's Dad said, "This is a very happy occasion. Without Tom and Sally, we may not have been all here today. I can't thank Magpas enough".

If you would like to support Patrick's bike ride, please log onto: https://www.justgiving.com/Patrick-O-Gallagher1/

Thank you.

 

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Baby girl delivered outside Magpas Helimedix Base!

magpas-birth

Photo caption (left to right)Magpas Helimedix Doctor Alexandra Cross, Nick Usher, Theresa Usher and baby Beatrice Usher

The Magpas Helimedix were called to a rather an unusual incident recently, which literally took place on the Magpas doorstep! Watch this video (courtesy of Andy Wilkinson from Shooting Image Ltd) to find out more:

One night, towards the end of last year, Mum-to-be Theresa Usher from Manea was being driven to hospital by her husband after she started experiencing contractions. When the labour progressed faster than expected, husband Nick was left with no other choice but to pull the car into the nearest lay-by, which also happened to be the entrance to the Magpas Helimedix Operations Base gate! Magpas Helimedix, Doctor Alexandra Cross, Paramedic Simon Standen and Doctor Vijayasankar, drove the shortest distance on Magpas incident record to Mr and Mrs Usher at the gate, via the Magpas Rapid Response BMW. They then helped to bring the couple's new addition into the world, whilst working alongside a local midwife (who was on the phone) and an EEAST Ambulance Service Paramedic Crew.

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We Save Lives

Our Doctor and Paramedic team
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Charity HQ open

Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm
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Our Office Locations

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